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Question:
Hiya - I was a prof at Texas A&M Uni, but am now in the UK.... Anyway - i saw a spider the other day UNDOING it's web. I'd never seen this before and no-one I know has seen it before either. Do you know what was happening? The spider seemed to be taking up the thread at the same speed that it would normally put it down.


Replies:
Disclaimer time--I am not an entomologist, and I have never seen a spider undoing its web. So what I am about to write may be nothing more than an urban legend.

I have heard that spider webs get "crudded up" with dust, dirt, and what-have-you fairly quickly, and lose their stretchy, sticky qualities. So spiders need to make new ones periodically. However, webs are made of expensive protein, which would be a shame to waste. So the clever spiders eat the old web and recycle the materials into a later one.

Richard Barrans
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Wyoming


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_garden_spider

The above web address explains that the common garden spider does recycle portions of its web by consuming the older threads and building new ones in its place.

Steve Sample


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